Not too long ago I was encouraged by a leader in my church to share my ‘sufferings’ with the people I do life with so that they see that [my] faith is attainable. At first, I was irritated that he would think that I would hide my own suffering. [and to be honest, it felt a little condescending.] Especially when I write a blog about my faith. And my faith comes about because of my discomfort and suffering. There are things that I don’t share because I’m not quite there yet, but I do consider myself a pretty transparent person.
What I’m choosing to take from his comment is that we ALL need to share MORE. More life. More love. More hurt. More….you get the point. We need to share more about the places where we are that are uncomfortable.
God intentionally puts us in uncomfortable situations because He knows that we will grow more in that discomfort than when we are coasting through life. And, when we are living through those difficult times, it’s comforting to know that others are not coasting through life either. [ummm…hello….life is hard….for EVERYONE]
God cares more about refining our character than He does about our comfort.
After years and years of uncomfortable situations, I now find that there are less things that make me uncomfortable.
God has put me in TONS of uncomfortable places. [relationship conflict, work drama, speaking in front of people, lost on the side of a mountain in an African country…..]
I wasn’t seeking out those experiences [well….the lost on the side of the mountain might be my own doing]. God put them in front of me and expected me to say yes and persevere [moving to different countries, taking new jobs, meeting new people]. So I did. I lived through the discomfort and learned that God will provide in ways that are beyond my comprehension.
I have grown exponentially as a result of that discomfort and in hindsight, I’m so grateful for it. [confession: I was NOT grateful while living through it]
BUT y’all I still do encounter those situations and when I do, they make me VERY uncomfortable. Not just a little bit uncomfortable. A WHOLE LOT uncomfortable. Like a lot. Have I said A LOT????
I feel unsettled and have butterflies in my stomach. And to be straight up honest, I’m ungrateful in those situations. Sometimes I’m mad at God for them.
I find solace that all of the ‘greats’ of the Bible also struggled through uncomfortable situations. Let’s take the prophet Jeremiah from the Old Testament. He struggled. And God had him in some seriously uncomfortable situations. He shares with his people (through prophesies from God) that God is going to judge them and send them into exile because of their behavior [idolatry, corruption, rampant social injustice]. But they don’t listen. In fact, they kidnap him and send him to Egypt.
So what does Jeremiah do? He turns to prayer and calls out to God for strength, wisdom and guidance. He prays for perspective. And God gives it to him. He ends his prophecies with a promise of hope.
If you follow me on Insta, you might have noticed that I like posting photos that I took while sitting in my bed. It’s my place of prayer. My dog is usually there with me. I can look out and see the city. And pray for my beloved city of Charlotte while I look out over it. I can pray for my people as I’m surrounded by things that remind me of them. It’s where I turn to when I’m in those uncomfortable times.
I pray for perseverance and perspective. And, He always provides. Maybe not in the way that I’m expecting. But, He provides. And I’m always so grateful [on the backend of the discomfort].
Are you seeking His perspective? If not, ask for it. He will provide.
“It is only when we recognize God’s hand in everyday providence, through means that we are able to attribute everything to His glory” (thank you to The Christian Faith:A Systemic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way for that nugget of wisdom).